It took us a few attempts to visit Mount Walsh National Park. We needed the right conditions and timing as we wanted to hike to Mount Walsh summit. It’s also quite a detour inland from other usual destinations. But if you have a bit of time, it’s a fantastic option to have a break while driving up or down the Queensland coast.
Distance: 3 km
Time: 3 hours
Disclaimer: the hiking time and difficulty are based on our experience. We’re experienced hikers with a good level of fitness and used to hiking long distances and scrambling. We have good navigation skills and use a Garmin watch* with a GPS navigation map. Always check the park alerts and notes; trail conditions change over time which can impact the level of difficulty of the hike.
Mount Walsh National Park is not on the coast. It is about 1.5hrs inland from Bundaberg and Hervey Bay. So if you’ve seen enough beaches on your trip, it’s a perfect detour for a change of scenery. It’s an interesting sight: the 703-meter-high granite rock stands in the middle of a flat area.
We noted two walks to do in Mount Walsh National Park:
- Mount Walsh summit hike – which is what this article focuses on
- A short walk to Utopia Rock Pools (also called Utopia Falls)
Mount Walsh summit hike and Utopia Rock Pools are both in Mount Walsh National Park, but the walks don’t start at the same car park. It takes about 40 minutes to drive from Mount Walsh Picnic Area (to hike Mount Walsh Summit) to Waterfall Creek Section car park (to go to Utopia Rock Pools).
Tips to hike Mount Walsh summit
Although the Mount Walsh summit hike isn’t long (3km), it’s not a walk you suddenly decide to do without planning. You have to:
- Consider the weather: the path would be nearly impossible when wet, and although there was more shade than we expected, it was really hard on a hot day.
- Consider your level of experience: we didn’t find the Mount Walsh summit walk technically hard, but it’s not for beginners. Rocks are loose and scrambling is needed at the end.
- Have the right equipment: hiking shoes with a good grip really helped, and it’s essential to carry water.
- Judge your fitness/adventurous level: Mount Walsh summit hike is steep and part of the hike will be challenging for those that are not comfortable with heights or have no experience using their hands when hiking.
- Allow enough time to enjoy the summit: Mount Walsh summit is surprisingly flat and you can easily walk around to soak in the views. We stayed there for about 20 minutes!
How hard is the Mount Walsh summit hike?
Mount Walsh summit hike is often described as hard. There’s indeed no flat section, and the incline keeps increasing until you reach the top. There’s no actual rock climbing, but it almost felt like it a couple of times.
The start of the scrambling section is impressive. If you’re short like me, you may struggle to find a grip for your hands and foot. I got stuck there for a little while and needed my buddy’s help to get higher. He put his knee as the first step for me and also graciously pushed my bum. After that, some sections were impressive if you’re not used to climbing, but not technically complicated. If you’re scared of heights like me, you’ll stress for a couple of sections. But I didn’t get stuck like I did a few weeks before on Pages Pinnacle razorback ridge.
The path is well defined until you reach the scrambling section. Then, we found it easy to find. It’s reassuring to check ribbons and ensure you’re following the easiest path possible. We met a hiker who admitted doing some challenging climbs because he didn’t notice the ribbons before he was on his way down.
As we were climbing, I got worried about going down. It’s usually more challenging for me as I’m scared of heights and careful with my knees. For once, I found going down was easier than going up. I slid on my bum where it was very steep.
On a hot day, it took us 1h30 to reach the summit and 1h20 to go down back to the car park, with a few needed breaks along the way to catch our breath and rest in the shade to look at the views.
Have you been to Mount Walsh National Park? Share your experience in the comments below!
Where is Mount Walsh National Park?
Mount Walsh National Park is located near Biggenden in the North Burnett region (Queensland, Australia). We stopped there on our way back to Brisbane after our holidays on Great Keppel Island. It was a fun way to break the drive and make the holidays last for a little bit longer. It can also be a nice stop as you come back from Canya Gorge National Park and Auburn River National Park on your three-day road trip from Brisbane. It took us 3.5hrs to drive back to Brisbane from Mount Walsh National Park. The road from Mount Walsh to Gympie (120km) was very picturesque and a nice change from the A1 Bruce Highway.